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(Hong Kong - 23 June 2008) Ocean Park chairman Dr Allan Zeman expresses his deepest regrets in announcing that one Chinese sturgeon from Beijing has died on 23 June. This Chinese sturgeon, which is known as "Chinese sturgeon No. 5 ", is the smallest of the five Chinese sturgeons presented to Ocean Park by the country's National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association. The four remaining Chinese sturgeons have been relocated off-exhibit as a precaution, and the Park plans to reintroduce these to Atoll Reef in early July.

Dr Zeman said, "We are all saddened by the news." He continued, "We have since contacted all our relevant associates in the Mainland with the news. We have already been infomed that the country's National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association will arrange for another fish to be sent over in due course. We are very grateful to the support shown by our Mainland conservation partners."

Records showed that, on 21 June, an Atoll Reef aquarist noticed that Chinese sturgeon No. 5 showed signs of injuries on its body. In accordance with protocol, the aquarists immediately reported the finding to the Chief Veterinarian and retrieved the particular Chinese sturgeon from Atoll Reef. It was then sent for veterinary care and attention, and put into a recuperating tank afterwards for further observation. The fish was reported to be recovering well. However, the aquarists found Chinese sturgeon No. 5 dead this morning at around 12 30am.

According to the necropsy report prepared by the Park's veterinarians, the wounds on the fish indicated that it had been bitten, and the marks around the wound are consistent with those produced by barracudas. While barracudas do coexist in the wild with Chinese sturgeons, as a precautionary measure, Ocean Park has taken the remaining four Chinese sturgeons temporarily off-exhibit while the aquarists will prepare to relocate the eight barracudas in Atoll Reef to another holding facility.

Mr Li Yan-liang, the Director of the country's National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association said, "We are also saddened by the incident, but this is really a natural phenomenon. We will send Ocean Park another fish and we will maintain our co-operation and partnership to conduct further research on the conservation of the Chinese sturgeons and other aquatic wildlife in the Mainland and Hong Kong."

Dr Wei Qi-wei, professor for the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Science, also extended his regrets, and concurred with Mr Li's views that the incident is part of the natural cycle, and which occurs in the wild with the smaller fishes.

Ocean Park has already reported the incident to the Agricultural and Fisheries Conservation Department as part of the reporting protocol.

Dr Zeman said, "This unfortunate incident will not stop our determination to fulfill the Park's conservation mission, and we will move on with initiatives to raise the public's awareness on aquatic wildlife conservation together with our different conservation partners."

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About Ocean Park
Ocean Park is Hong Kong’s unique homegrown theme park with a heritage of delivering family fun and fond memories. Since its opening in January 1977 as a non-profit organization, Ocean Park has developed itself to be a world-class attraction connecting people with nature, and recognized for its animal husbandry, research and relationship with the community. Over 85 million people have visited Hong Kong's premier park since its inception and Ocean Park has remained committed to offer adults and children experiences that blend entertainment with education and conservation. Part of the proceeds from the Ocean Park admission tickets and some retail items will go to Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong to support its wildlife conservation projects.